Thursday, 15 March 2007

Kitchen Diaries: Chicken broth with noodles, lemon and mint

Tuesday is traditionally my rubbish day for cooking. Taichi after work means that even in these days when my after-class drinking partner seems less inclined to share a bottle than usual, I still don’t get home until 9ish. And even after 2 and a half years my eating plan so-as-not-to-be-famished-by-the-end-of-class is still hit and miss at best, so leftovers or tortellini seem more appealing than usual for speed alone.

Even though I see an ad on the tube for the possibly reprehensible and for a second think all my meals delivered right to my door sounds quite nice (surely just really, really posh meals on wheels though?, I realise as I come to my senses), I decide to take the opportunity to see if Nigel Slater and his simple/quick dinner philosophy can offer me anything helpful when I’m knackered and about to eat my own arm.

I go for chicken broth with noodles, lemon and mint (p.22 - Jan 19 for NS) because, honestly, it sounds like something I’d make anyway and can’t be bothered with a real challenge. And I like the idea of something fresh and liquidy after a packet of Maccoy’s saltiest crisps in the world (see failed plan to stave off starvation detailed above) which have sucked all the water out of the top half of my body in the intervening hours.

I approach Sainbury’s Camden with trepidation because Nigel lists “very good chicken broth” and I don’t really know if that means stock or not. There’s no way he’s talking about Campbell’s questionably “very good” “chicken broth” in a can, is there? I go for stock and get home to see I’d missed his detailed information about being lazy and getting his stock from the butchers. If only we all had time to be so “good-for-nothing”, Nigel. I go for a cube. He also lists cooked chicken, so by way of a personal first I get some rotisseried from the counter (3 drumsticks at 45p each, can that be right?), there’s no way I’m cooking it tonight before even starting.

The meal is so quick to make I hardly have time to steam spinach to go with it. In 10 minutes the summery smells of mint and lemon are mixing with cosy chicken stock. In 20 minutes I’ve managed to eat three times as many noodles as he suggests (at least twice as many as I should have). It’s zingy, sour and minimal, but quite lovely. I have it with steamed spinach which I squeezed out into the stock, then drizzled with soy and sesame oil. I’m so full I can only manage a glass of wine for afters (Vina Maipo Sauvignon Blanc – fruity but not too sweet so it actually goes happily with the broth and, essentially, on offer). £2.50 and 10 minutes max. He’s right about it being warming, uplifting and satisfying and I’d cook it at any time of year too (although are lemon, mint and coriander in season in January Nigel?) I concede that Nigel wins my Tuesday.



Aleks said...

darnit, i've got the lurgy and i've just made chicken soup from joy of cooking. if only i'd remembered nigel... next time!


Rianna said...

People should read this.